Credibility is one of those things that is so valuable there can be no price tag assigned. All it takes to lose this precious treasure in one statement that is not completely accurate. There are times when there is simply no way to get it back.
As with any kind of politics or gossip words get twisted and there is plenty of innuendo. Honesty is the only way to gain credibility. It can be tossed away forever with thoughtless comment, inaccurate comment. Once the words are spoken there is no way to get them back.
It is true that being completely honest in not an easy task and it has its risks as well. For example, if your immediate supervisor asks you a direct question about another employee you are probably obligated to give an answer. Perhaps you have heard rumors and have some information that is second hand. What would be the best and honest response?
“I don’t have any credible information on the situation. Everything I have heard is second hand.”
“As I was not there and not involved in the conversation I really have don’t have any information. I don’t feel comfortable just passing on unfounded rumors.”
“If you are asking me what I think or heard I can tell you. It is important that it may havebeen taken or given out of context.”
It is easy to get caught up with enthusiasm and exaggerate. You want to make sure you do not get caught up in the moment. Keeping the conversations professional is an easy way to make certain exaggerations are curbed.
The little white lie has no place in the professional office. What you choose to do in your personal life is your business, but in the workplace there are limited options.
Tact is a great skill to learn and you have to avoid being dishonest. There are some situations when avoiding a direct answer and yet giving an honest and respectful response is best. Here is a good example.
A co-worker gets a new haircut and style. Your personal and honest opinion is that it looks horrid and she should demand her money back and buy a wig. If the co-worker asks if you like her new haircut, an appropriate response might be “I am so glad you took time to pamper yourself and get a new cut. You deserve it and I think that’s great.”
This does not say “your hair looks horrid” and it does not say your hair looks good. It is a positive statement. It is hard for anyone to take offense to something that is upbeat, positive and honest. Rehearse and practice all kinds of statements like this so when the time comes you are prepared and sincere.
Office politics can not be avoided or ignored. It exists in every professional situation. The key is to adjust your focus to the positive side of the professional situation. Keep the conversation positive and honest. If you exhibit these qualities you will find a like-minded group of people and carry the business forward.